The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) of Imo State extraction who had up till now held the state to hostage through pipeline vandalisation, yesterday stormed the Government House Owerri in trucks where they exuberantly surrendered their arms and ammunition including AK47 to Governor Rochas Okorocha and all security chiefs in the state.
The ex-militants, who arrived the seat of power mid-day with white T-shirts bearing the inspiration “Disarmament of Agitators Powered by the Niger Delta Youths Volunteer Peace Advocacy” incessantly chanted Niger Delta songs just as they angrily castigated oil companies operating in their communities for their insensitivity to the plight of their people.
In the presence of top security agencies comprising the police, army, DSS and the NSCDC, the deputy Chief of staff to the governor, who is the chairman of the disarmament committee and an indigene of the Ohaji Egbema council area- Kingsley Uju who had earlier received the ex-fighters, including the much dreaded Niger Delta Red squad, stressed that the occasion was in response to the mandate given to his committee by the governor to find lasting solution to the youth restiveness in the oil bearing Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta LGAs of the state.
Uju regretted that since 1953 when the oil giants commenced operations in these communities, they had failed to address the worthy yearnings and aspirations of the indigenes, hence the frequent outburst of youth restiveness in these areas .
He regretted the people’s predicament arising from their wanton neglect by the oil companies which had often led to violent confrontations and commended the youths for finally embracing peace by laying down their arms as directed by the governor.
The aggrieved youths who later spoke through their respective leaders, accused the multinational corporations of criminally precipitating confusing among their people, lamenting that there is neither pipeline surveillance nor NDDC presence in their areas unlike the situation in the neighbouring Rivers and Delta states.
They, however, pledged that a cease fire had come to prevail in the troubled oil communities but pleaded with the state and federal governments to prevail on the oil companies to urgently address their grievances while imploring the Imo State Government to release their members still languishing in detention.